In regards to fishing the beach for Tarpon….
It is all about the BAIT! When fishing on the beach, bring multiple types of bait. I usually have at least a dozen pass crabs, small blue crabs, about a dozen pinfish and a dozen threadfin. The typical theory of blacked out the wells is not needed for Tarpon. Save that step for Redfish or Snook. In fact, if you plan ahead and spend a few hours dipping crabs on a new or full moon hill tide you should be able to store enough for the whole season. The best thing is that kids, beginners and even people that normally wouldn’t like catching bait get a kick out of dipping pass crabs. Set up at any one of the passes or bridges during a strong outgoing tide with a couple long handle small mesh nets and simply dip the crabs as they float by. Pinch the claws off to a.) make it easier to handle and b.) to keep the crabs from climbing up your line when fishing. Store them in a pen off your dock or a friends dock.
Once you have a pen full of crabs, simply drop a dozen in your well when you leave the dock and then sabiki up threadies when you get out to the beach. This not only insures fresh threadfin but also positions you in a good area for the Tarpon to roll by. Try setting up in 8-14ft of water off the beach as the sun is coming up. You can see better by anchoring shallow and looking west in the morning, remember to have a anchor buoy to quickly drop anchor an chase the silver king. Take note of the fish’s activity. Are they daisy chaining? Rolling? Circling close to the bottom? Most schools of fish will be in numbers of 8-30. See which ways the schools are heading and remember their pattern and depth. Now you can take advantage and set up ahead of the next school. They will often follow right along the same depth contour. Once a school is spotted headed your way I would throw out a pinfish on a cork about 6 feet up the line, a freelined threadfin and have a crab ready to cast. This covers most of the beach water column and gives you more data on what they are chewing on that day. Of course once multiple hookups come from 1 kind of bait you can start throwing just that 1 kind. Each day is different on the beach but with a selection of different baits and reading what the fish are doing early you will have success in landing more tarpon. Remember that the FWC has rules on how to handle Tarpon -see excerpt from their website.
Can I remove a tarpon from the water for a photo?
A tarpon that does not have a tarpon tag attached to it can be temporarily possessed only for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches fork length must remain in the water. To learn more about fish handling and how to help your catch and release fish survive visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”
(Pictured) Team Pro Marine / Sea Hunt : Back to back 2nd place finishes in PTTS and WPTTS, Team Pro Marine looking to keep rolling. MacKenzie Ruhnke-Harrington Morgan Domingue Morgan Domingue JJ Hoyle Sarah Hoyle Mike Grasso Hunter Skipper Lance Hunter Skipper, Ryan Harrington
Article written by:
Capt. Ryan Harrington
Realtor – Re/Max Preferred
5801 Gulf Blvd • St Pete Beach, FL 33706